1868 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Andrew Macdonald

Ralston Inglis, in Dramatic Writers of Scotland (1868) 69-70.



A. M'DONALD — was the son of George Donald, a gardener at Leith, where he was born about 1755. He was educated for the church at the University of Edinburgh, and ordained deacon in the Episcopal Church of Scotland, by Bishop Forbes. Through the interest of the Bishop, he obtained the situation of a preceptor in the family of Mr. Oliphant of Gask. About a year afterwards, in 1777, he was appointed pastor of the Nonjuring Episcopal Church, Glasgow, and received priest's orders from Bishop Falconer. In 1782 he published Velina, a poetical fragment, and about the same time a novel called The Independent. Soon after this he resigned his pastoral charge, removing to Edinburgh, and subsequently to London, with the design of finding employment for his literary talents. His tragedy of Vimonda, which had been previously performed at Edinburgh (with a prologue by Henry Mackenzie), was brought out with great splendour at the Haymarket, by Mr. Colman, in the summer of 1787, shortly after the author's arrival in London, and acted to crowded houses. Notwithstanding all this apparent good fortune, Mr. M'Donald died only a few months afterwards in great poverty, in 1788. A posthumous volume of his sermons was published in 1790. An advertisement prefixed to this book says of the author — "Having no powerful friends to patronize his abilities, and suffering under the infirmities of a weak constitution, he fell a victim, at the age of thirty-three, to sickness, disappointment, and misfortune." A volume of the author's Poetical Works was published in 1791. This contains four dramas: 1. Vimonda, a tragedy; 2. The Fair Apostate, a tragedy — the scene Sicily; 3. The Princess of Tarento, a comedy; 4. Love and Loyalty, an opera.